Thursday, November 14, 2013

Highlights & Lowlights: Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores

Highlight: BOOKS. BOOKS EVERYWHERE. Bookstores are pretty much like heaven for bookworms. You walk in, and there are books all over the place. How is that not awesome?

Lowlight:  If it's not on the shelves, they might not have it. Unlike the magical online bookstore that can hold all the books in the world, physical bookstores can only house so many books. Sometimes they hide a few books in the back rooms, but the odds are low. Certain books, possibly including that one you really want, might not ever make it to the shelves.

Highlight: Awesome bookish people. It's always fun to interact with other bookish people, and bookstores are the easiest place (besides a library) to find them.

Lowlight:  Snobby bookish people. You know the type - the ones that give you that LOOK when they see you head into your preferred genre section. Half the time I go through the YA bookshelves, I get the LOOK or even a comment like "you're not going to read that, are you?" - Yes. Yes, I will.

Kimberly Derting, Jessi Kirby, Suzanne Young, Sarah Ockler, Shannon Messenger, Morgan Matson
Highlight: Book signings / author events! I love my sort-of-local-but-not-really indie bookstores, because they host some fantastic book signings with authors I can fangirl over. It's so strange, but fun, to meet authors, other bloggers, and fellow readers. Thanks to bookstores, I've met authors such as Lauren Oliver, Leigh Bardugo, Marissa Meyer, Gayle Forman, Nina LaCour, Kristin Cashore, and more. 

Lowlight: Expensive. This is the biggest reason why I tend to buy most of my books online. It's so expensive to shop at a bookstore. If they offered more discounts, instead of forcing me to buy books at full price, I would buy all of my books at bookstores.

Highlight: Awesome salespeople. Booksellers are fantastic. They're willing to look high and low for that one book you really want, and if they don't have it in stock, they try their best to find a solution. *high five, awesome booksellers*

Lowlight: Pushy salespeople. I realize you're just trying to do your job, but if I don't ask for your help, it means that I do not need help. Fortunately, I've only had this problem a few times, since most booksellers are usually relaxed and kind. It's only in rare instances where a bookseller will refuse to leave me alone.

Highlight: Free swag! At some bookstore events, they might have free bookish swag (sometimes from the authors and publishers, although I've been to bookstores that have their own free bookmarks). I love posters / bookmarks / buttons / et cetera, so this is always a highlight.

Highlight: Atmosphere. I honestly do not know how to describe it, but bookstores have a great atmosphere. You walk in, and everything feels amazing. The mood is outstanding in bookstores. You can't replicate that with online bookstores.

Highlight: Book recommendations. Can't decide what to buy? Odds are, your bookstore has some sort of recommendation display. Other times, you can ask a salesperson and they'll usually have one or two books they can name off the top of their head. Or, you can just spy on other book buyers and see what they are buying...

Highlight: Reading is encouraged. I love any place that encourages people to grab a table, a book, and pull up a chair, so bookstores automatically earn my adoration. Not all bookstores encourage this, but some do tend to set up little reading sections for visitors to enjoy. 

In the end, I obviously adore bookstores. 

What do you love and hate about bookstores? Let me know in the comments!


  1. *sigh* I adore bookstores. I dream of opening my own children's bookstore and cupcake shop (which will have a fabulously stocked YA section, of course!) :) I just wish it weren't so hard for bookstores to survive these days. I do try and buy something every time I venture into one for a signing or whatever. I do buy a lot of books cheaper online, but I make it a point to buy at least one once in a while, even at full price at indie shops, just to support my love for them! Booksellers are just awesome to chat with and luckily I've never come across the infamous snobby glares when I head to the YA section----either that or I am just so excited to get to the books that I'm oblivious to anyone who might be glaring at me! :D

    Great post, Lea! Is that Copperfield's in the photo? I didn't know we were so close! Hopefully I get to meet you at a signing some day!

    1. I would totally hang out in your dream bookstore - it sounds lovely! Books + Cupcakes = A Fantastic Idea.

      I try to go to an indie every once in a while too. The bookstore vibe + kindness makes it worth the extra money :)

      Yes! That was at the Santa Rosa Copperfield's. Are you from around that area? We definitely need to meet up at future author event!!

  2. I love bookstores. It's the best feeling of walking and picking a book to bring with you. There is nothing that can beat the feeling of buying books in the store. But sometimes I have to buy them online, because they are crazy expensive here - and we don't have much books in stock. I don't really care about snobby people. Whatever :) They are the ones who are missing out on some awesome stories!

    1. "It's the best feeling of walking and picking a book to bring with you. There is nothing that can beat the feeling of buying books in the store." - Agreed!!

      And very true, regarding snobby people. Those silly people are missing out on excellent stories!

  3. Great post! Your comment about the snobby glares from people when I am in the YA section made me really captured that scene! I love my indie bookstores even if they are really expensive. I try to support them as much as I can. And you are so right about the awesome salespeople--they really know their stuff as opposed to those that work at a big chain.

    1. I get that so much. Fortunately, I sometimes also get to bond with other adults-who-read-YA in the YA Section, so it balances out ;)

      "And you are so right about the awesome salespeople--they really know their stuff as opposed to those that work at a big chain" - they do! Indie bookstores always have great enthusiasm and book knowledge.

  4. As much as I love the convenience of my e-reader, I'll always love bookstores the most! Ther eis just something about them that really soothes my soul. I sound like a nerd, but it's so true!

    1. I'm with you on the e-reader (perfect for days when I don't want to change out of my pajamas or drive anywhere), but agree that bookstores are always better!

      "There is just something about them that really soothes my soul. I sound like a nerd, but it's so true!" - I feel the same way :)

  5. Aw, I love this post. But yeah, bookstores are so expensive :\ Bought some books while I was in America, and way too expensive! Ordering online is better, hih. <3 But oh, I do wish my town here in Norway had an amazing bookstore. We have one small one. With a few very old paperback english YA books. Not many. Sigh. Makes me sad. And our library sucks too. Barely any English YA books at all. And only old ones. Sad face. But anyway. Love this post; thank you for sharing. <3